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How to Stay Healthy While Eating Out

Eating out doesn’t have to derail your healthy eating habits. With a bit of mindfulness and some strategic choices, you can enjoy dining out while staying on track with your health goals. Whether you're at a Japanese sushi bar or a cosy Italian trattoria, here’s how to navigate the menu for a healthier dining experience.

Choose Wisely

When dining out, consider cuisines known for their healthy, flavourful options. Japanese, Malaysian, and Thai cuisines often feature lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and lighter cooking methods. These choices are not only delicious but also support healthier eating habits. If you prefer French, Italian, or Mexican food, look for grilled or baked dishes rather than fried options.

Start Right

Begin your meal with a light starter like a salad, or a small vegetable dish such as artichoke or asparagus, or a broth-based soup. Avoid bread baskets or appetisers like prawn crackers that are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Instead, ask for olives or a small portion of nuts to nibble on while you wait.

Watch Out for Hidden Sugars

Scan the menu for hidden sugars and high glycemic index carbohydrates. Go for dishes that are grilled, steamed, or baked rather than fried. Be mindful of sauces and dressings, which can sometimes contain added sugars. Choose simple preparations that highlight the natural flavours of the ingredients. You can always ask for the sauce on the side. It is quite common for people to ask for olive oil and vinegar to make their own dressing.

Take Control

Don’t hesitate to customise your meal to suit your dietary preferences. Request grilled instead of fried options, and substitute starchy sides with extra vegetables or a small portion of brown rice. Restaurants are usually accommodating to these kinds of requests, so don't be afraid to ask for what you need.

Embrace Variety

Ensure your meal includes plenty of vegetables and salads. These fibre-rich foods will not only fill you up but also provide essential nutrients. If your main course lacks vegetables, consider ordering a side of steamed or stir-fried vegetables to round out your meal. Eating out is also a great opportunity for getting in that important protein as there is always a wide choice making it easier for you to find something that you really like, whether it is a fish, chicken, beef, or lamb dish.

Indulge Mindfully

If you’re craving something sweet to end your meal, opt for fresh fruit or a small portion of sorbet. Avoid desserts that are high in refined sugars and fats. A cheese platter to end a meal is always a better choice than a chocolate mousse. Alternatively, enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, which aids digestion and provides a calming end to your dining experience.

Exploring Specials

Specials menus often feature fresh and seasonal dishes that may not be on the regular menu. Take advantage of these opportunities to try new flavours and ingredients while keeping your meal nutritious and exciting.

Final Tip: Enjoy the Experience!

Eating out should be a pleasurable experience. By making mindful choices and prioritising healthier options, you can indulge without feeling guilty. Remember, it’s about balance and enjoying good food while nourishing your body.

Next time you dine out, use these tips to navigate the menu with confidence, so you can have a delicious and healthy meal every time.

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